During the latter months of 1998, cases of sleeping sickness caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense presented in Soroti district, eastern Uganda, a region which had not previously experienced cases of the disease. Cattle are the main reservoir for T b rhodesiense, by contrast with sleeping sickness caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense in west Africa where there appears to be no epidemiologically significant animal reservoir. Several factors have been identified that interacted to produce ideal conditions for the establishment of a new disease focus. After a period of civil unrest, Soroti, which is within the tsetse belt, was repopulated by people and later, cattle. Both the cattle restocking and the subsequent trade in these cattle at a local cattle market had a role in the appearance of the disease. Recently, molecular biology techniques have become available for the detection and genotype identification of T b rhodesiense and thus it is now possible to distinguish human infective and non-infective trypanosomes in cattle. In light of these advances in identification and in both field and epidemiological techniques, successful disease control management has become an achievable goal and will require the collaboration and expertise of clinicians, veterinarians, epidemiologists and laboratory scientists.
Hutchinson, O.C.; Fèvre, E.M.; Carrington, M.; Welburn, W.C. Lessons learned from the emergence of a new Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense sleeping sickness focus in Uganda. Lancet Infectious Diseases (2003) 3 (1) 42-45. [DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(03)00488-2]